We are heading into what should be a beautiful autumn. There are many interesting photographer-related things that have been added online and/or to the collections of archives and museums in the past several months I would like to share with you. Several of those relate to Photographers Working in the South.
Regarding the above stereo view of Carl Sandburg who is holding a stereo card in a viewer — the Carl Sandburg National Historic site in Flat Rock, North Carolina, tells us that “Carl Sandburg sold stereos for Underwood and Underwood on and off for nearly seven years. The proceeds enabled Sandburg to pay his college tuition and offered him the freedom to ramble, think, read, write, and meet the people and the countryside of America.” Sandburg’s work related to photography, and it supported his true passions. Smart man. Isn’t that what we all hope to do?
Although it was published a few years ago (2020), I only recently looked at a post on the “For the Record” blog written by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, regarding the ADAH Photograph Collections, a mixture of photographs from the physical holdings and those photographs in Digital form. This post includes a discussion of their Cased Photograph Collection, and their Carte-de-Visite Collection with links to those finding aids.
You may remember my 2017 post on the excellent book by Frances Osborn Robb, Shot in Alabama, a History of Photography, 1839-1941, and a list of photographers. If you did not see it, take a look!
Archivists in Torreyson Library at the University of Central Arkansas have recently digitized more than 1,000 historical photographs, and the UCA collection includes buildings, social activities and student life from the beginning of the school in 1907. Other collections at UCA include The Keller-Butcher Photo Collection of 2,234 images on glass plates, dating from about 1900 to 1930, but most are from the 1920s.
Georgia, and other states:
There is a wonderful site called the Living New Deal covering public works projects completed between 1933 and 1942. The Works Progress Administration was created by Congress during the Roosevelt Administration.
New Deal discoveries are listed for all U.S. States, The link listing those WPA sights only in Georgia cities is included here but a listing of all of them by site name in alphabetical order is found here. If you want to get involved or can provide photographs for those sites or artwork missing, contact them at the “Get in Touch” phone and email found at the bottom of the “all U.S. States” listing link noted above.
I want to mention here that I have an “Addendum” to my two-post A Mountain of Connections regarding the photographic connections between Georgia and Tennessee, and that wavering line in-between. I recently updated some information to Part One of my two-part “A Mountain of Connections” posts, but the following is new-to-me information related primarily to the second of those posts. On postcardhistory.net is an article on a postcard series called “The Big Book on Lookout Mountain” which was published in July 2022. The editor wrote that this Book “was imagined by some entrepreneur as a means of making money.” The Big Book postcards were published from about 1911 to 1914. These are wonderful images – articles in Postcard History are always interesting — look for another of their articles I mention later in this post.
The Courier Journal [newspaper] donated a collection of an estimated three (3) million photographs and negatives to the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections. The Courier Journal was joined by the members of the Bingham family, and the Courier’s parent company, Gannett, in donating the collection, which will nearly double the holdings of the U of L Photographic Archives. The collection documents daily happenings and major events from about the mid-1930s to the early 2000s, but it would have dated back further if not for losing so many images in Louisville’s Great Flood of 1937. Read more about this valuable gift here, and see some of the images and hear about the collection from the archivists and newscasters here. You may have to see an advert first, but you should be able to “skip” it, so stay tuned.
The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve collection at the Library of Congress consists of interviews and photographs by Mary Hufford and Tom Tankersley in December 1985 for the American Folklife Center. Photographs document a local cemetery, boats, waterways, traditional foods and housing, the preparation of nutria hides, Park Service staff, and aerial photographs of the Mississippi Delta, some taken by Tom Tankersley. The Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is in southern Louisiana.
Another article of interest on the Postcard History site, “The Ottenheimer Brothers, Baltimore Postcard Publishers” examines the firm of I & M Ottenheimer, founded by Moses and Isaac Ottenheimer. Author George Miller delves into the history of the two brothers and their business. They came from Richmond, Virginia, and moved to Baltimore, where they began as stationers and booksellers, then became book publishers. They contracted with various printers to produce post cards. Most of their post cards were of the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area, but some views were made in other locations. The most interesting part of the article is a discussion of the way in which a photograph became a postcard.
East Tennessee State University has digitized a significant collection of Black History: The Langston Heritage Group Collection. Donated to ETSU in 2000, it has been used by many researchers inside their Archives, and it includes “a wealth of historical information about Black churches, schools, civic clubs and organizations throughout Washington County from the end of the Civil War to the present.” Through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 323 objects in the The Langston Heritage Group Collection (including texts, documents, interviews, and artifacts, as well as photographs) have been digitized and made available online to be accessible to many more people.
Texas, and other states
When he photographs the 87th edition of the annual college football game on January 2, 2023, Bill Bradley will be 100 years old, having turned a century old in July 2022. “Brad” married Betty Laughead (pronounced Lawhead) in 1946 and he was trained as a photographer by her father, Jim, for whom Betty had worked as a studio assistant. The duo developed a technique of posing athletes to appear as if they were in action, which led to Brad’s long association as a sports photographer. Read much more about the fascinating Bill “Brad” Bradley and see many of his photographs here.
An online compilation of digital civil rights content has relaunched with a new look and thousands of additional pieces of history. The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) project gathers more than 200 libraries, archives, and museums online to provide free access to historical materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The University of Georgia, Georgia Humanities, and the New Georgia Encyclopedia were participants in the Project. Read more about it here.
On Smithsonian Open Access, you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images. There is now easier access to more than 4.4 million 2D and 3D digital items from their collections—with more being added. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.
Speaking of the Smithsonian museums, announced at the end of July is that the archive of Johnson Publishing, a collection of photographs depicting African American culture in the 20th century, has been transferred to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the Getty Research Institute. They will jointly steward the four million prints and negatives from Ebony and Jet, the lodestones of Johnson’s portfolio. Read more about that transfer and the consortium of institutions involved here.
The Library of Congress has made eleven World War II films from the George Stevens Collection (World War II color footage) collection available. The films were shot in 1943-1945, by Stevens as part of the Signal Service Photographic Detachment, and the Signal Corps Special Coverage Unit, which he headed. The only color film made of the war in Europe, they were shot in Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy, as well as in Egypt, North Africa, and other locations. They include scenes of the destruction in Bastogne, the liberation of Paris, and the liberation of Dachau and Dora concentration camps. This is made available as part of The National Screening Room, a project of the Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. For more on George Stevens and his life before and after the war see his bio on Wikipedia.
One more item of interest from the Library of Congress — the PH Filing Series Photographs allow you to browse by Name a photographer whose item(s) may be found in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Browse all, or select a letter to search for a particular photographer.
I hope you found something useful to your research somewhere in this post. Have a wonderful autumn, and If I don’t see you for Halloween in a few weeks, have a good and safe one. I do plan to see you for Veterans Day in November for sure!
© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.